Transit fares should reflect its service - Metro US

Transit fares should reflect its service

As you prepare to pay more to ride transit next year, be sure to remember we’ll be losing 21,500 service hours, we won’t be getting any new peace officers and parking fees at LRT lots won’t be reduced. Council has decided there won’t be any fee to park at bus rapid-transit lots though — a small victory.

I think 2010 might look brighter for public transit if council were more in touch with transit realities.

I’d like to see some members of council commit to taking public transit regularly. That’s a sure-fire way to create true transit advocates. After all, it was the mayor’s personal experience last month of having his usual 15-minute commute turn into an hour that inspired him to recommend increased funding for snow removal.

Admittedly, demanding schedules and commitments across the city makes transit a cumbersome prospect for busy aldermen. And since each has an annual car allowance of $9,400 as well as a parking stall at city hall, it’s quite unlikely we’ll see any choosing transit.

One doesn’t need to take transit to see increased fares are too high, though. A quick survey of other major cities proves it.

Calgary’s single adult fare is climbing from $2.50 to $2.75, more than Edmonton, Halifax, Victoria, Saskatoon, Seattle and San Francisco, to name a few.

It’s on par with Toronto’s fare. The difference is Toronto operates three subway lines, an elevated rapid transit line, buses and streetcars with a daily ridership of more than 2.46 million passengers.

Vancouver’s fares range from $2.50 to $5.00 depending on how many zones you intend to travel through — keep in mind, their system includes the 21 municipalities that make up the Greater Vancouver Regional District. They’ve got SeaBuses, buses, a SkyTrain and next year they’ll have streetcars, too.

Perhaps $2.75 would be a reasonable fare if the service was there to back it up, but it isn’t. A more in touch council would recognize that.

Adrienne Beattie is a Calgary-born writer who has covered urban issues since 2001 and has an English degree from the University of Calgary.

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